I am a dermatologist and often take clinical photos of my patients with a digicam to add to their electronic medial records. With the Eye-Fi, a wireless 2GB SD memory card, I can take a photo and by the time I return to my computer the photo is waiting for me. Set up is very easy. You just plug the card in like you would any other memory card, do some basic configuration (the software works with Mac/PC) and you can send photos to the computer via the wi-fi you configure, or send direct to an online site like Flickr. You can also set the card up so several wi-fi are recognized (home or office, for instance), although you must program each individually. If you are using remote wi-fi access (that you have set up), needless to say, you will only be able to put photos online. In the office, we use the Eye-Fi to send to a local computer only. For someone with a built-in or USB SD card reader or Bluetooth, the Eye-Fi may have less benefits. For my purposes, it’s spectacular. Previously, all patient photos would be downloaded as a batch and then each would be tediously attached at the end of the day. With the Eye-Fi, the photos are made available right away and they can be attached right when we write each patient’s note. The flow is much better. Surprisingly, I haven’t noticed any issues with the card draining the battery either. A few caveats: at any one time, one card can communicate with only one computer and one online site. You can, however, set up your account so your card can communicate with multiple computers. In order to switch computers, you go into the Eye-Fi manager on your computer and change the settings (i.e. if you’re switching from work and home). While my use and situation may be unique, I also started my somewhat technophobic father-in-law on an Eye-Fi several months ago and it’s been working well for him. Previously, he used to just fill up cards and then buy a new one (luckily, with the price of SD cards, that was still cheaper than film, but this is much better!). All he has to do is remember to keep both the camera and computer on, and the Eye-Fi enables him to share his photos online with us with virtually no trouble. At first, he had a few issues and concluded the card was broken. However, I showed him all he needed to do was make sure the computer was on with the Eye-Fi manager running (it can be set up to automatically run when you boot your computer). Undoubtedly, this technology has major potential to revolutionize digital photography as we know it. I look forward to future drivers that could support instant upload via any unlocked wi-fi your camera wanders near.
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